The project entails the construction and commissioning of a new, robust, first-world zirconium chemicals and oxide plant in Chamdor, South Africa. The plant has a production capability of 16 000 metric tons of zirconium oxychloride per annum.
This will serve as feedstock for the production of a range of chemicals and oxides based upon the beneficiation of domestic zircon. The plant will be constructed and commissioned on a lump sum, turnkey basis (“EPC”) by a highly reputable engineering contractor. The lion’s share of other raw materials will also be sourced locally.
Geratech will utilize their well-developed technical and commercial knowledge base to convert locally mined zircon into higher value zirconium oxychloride and using this as feedstock into downstream zirconium chemicals and oxides. The business is based on a R250-million research and development investment over more than a decade through university laboratory to bench pilot plant to pilot plant to a semi-commercial plant.
Geratech is the only company in Africa to have successfully produced about 2,000 tons across a range of 12 different zirconium compounds on a demonstration plant scale. It has successfully marketed and obtained product approvals from various customers across a variety of industries globally. Its customers include market leaders such as Exxon Mobil, BASF, Huntsman and WR Grace.